Hello and welcome to Heads Up.
What a difference a week makes. Last week, I mentioned that this introduction would increasingly be moving away from Covid-related news and more into what we term business as usual.
Unfortunately, the Prime minister’s announcement on Monday that plans to ease the restrictions are to be paused for a further four weeks mean that for the time being, Covid is still ‘business as usual’. The Delta variant that has caused the extension of lockdown measures is seeing cases and incident management teams on the rise. My apologies if that sounds gloomy. Looking at the glass as half full, numbers are hugely down from where we were at the end of last term.
Addressing the recent upward trend in rising cases is to an extent within our gift. It is a case of going back to basics and replicating the measures that served us so well when we first reopened schools and settings.
So, I must stress the importance of updating your risk assessments and mitigations in line with the latest recommendations and making sure that they are published on your website.
We have also added some social media images and messages (1,2,3,4) that you might wish to share on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, reinforcing the need for pupils and students to do the basics. Stay in year bubbles, stay in the same seats on buses, wash hands, wear a face covering if you can, keep a safe social distance.
For schools, it is so important to have a seating plan for buses so that, if positive cases are identified among the passengers, there is no need to isolate an entire bus.
Elsewhere in this edition, we have published guidance on transitions and, in a separate document, the guidance on safely operating summer events such as sports day or proms.
This is where I think it is important to look at the glass as half full. In recent weeks, you may have been watching the test match, or the football matches at the European Championships, and have heard the commentators say how great it is to have the fans back.
Now, of course, there are some fans back in stadia. But only up to around quarter capacity. We are not back to how we were pre-Covid. We can’t be. And that is the same for sports days, summer fetes or proms. But they are able to happen again, with the necessary adaptations, processes and mitigations in place, and I see that as a measure of how far we have come. And I hope that your school communities will be delighted with the possibility of having something of their former summer schedule back on the agenda.
We’re not there yet but we are getting there. It just needs one more push between now and the end of term to get us over the line so please encourage your pupils and students, parents and carers and staff to keep on following the guidance. It has been a marathon but we are heading towards the finish line- I hope there is just that 385 yards to go…
Enjoy the weekend. Get some rest and downtime and see you next time.